Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just Who's For Eating Humble Pie?

In the 2005 General Election the Lib Dems in Scotland stood on getting 1000 more police on the streets. I remember it well as I erroneously gave the break down of these stats for Lothian and Borders at the hustings in Bo'ness when of course I should have given Central Scotland figures: only to have Michael Connarty correct me. So of course I fully support any increase in police officers that the SNP can manage.

However, the SNP when elected last May also promised 1000 more police for Scotland. They claimed they would do this by the end of this parliament. However yesterday when it was announce that there were either 118 or 74 additional officers the SNP spin machine has changed their definition in their target to recruits not additional officers:

"In addition to the 150 additional recruits which were recruited in 2007/08, a
further 450 additional officers will be recruited by the end of this financial
year, 200 additional officers in 2009/10 and 200 in 2010/11. This will bring the
total number of additional recruits to 1,000 over the life of this Parliament."

But hang on same statement does acknowledge that:

"We inherited the lowest recruitment since devolution with many officers due to
retire. We've tackled that challenge head on, and although these latest figures
are reassuring, there remains much work to be done."

and goes on to say:

"We have set out plans to deliver a more visible policing presence on Scotland's
streets and make an additional 1,000 officers available in our communities. We
are not just delivering on this but going substantially beyond, by also looking
at recruitment, retention and redeployment."

Well no doubt the Nats will take whichever thousand they want to as they have mixed up the two willy nilly through this statement of course redeployment may well meet a target of 1000 extra officers available in our community. Part of the Lib Dem pledge in 2005 was to do away with a lot of the red tape, provide better resources to free up more police time for them to be out on the beat. However look at what the Nats actually promised last May (page 58):

"That’s why we will set out plans in our first Budget for Scotland for 1000 more
police and will encourage Chief Constables to focus these new resources on
community policing."

There it is in black and white 1000 more police, not 1000 recruits, not 1000 more on the streets and actual increase of 1000 officers. Bearing in mind that in 2008/9 271 officers will reach retirement age and some 708 more before 2010/11. That's 900 officers that cannot be retained or redeployed leaving a net gain on the promise of 1000 recruits to be about 100 by the end of this parliament or 10%.

So when a spokesman for the Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill says:

"Labour and the Liberal Democrats are going to have to eat a big slice of humble
pie now that police numbers have increased to record levels – well over 100
above the position we inherited from them."

Maybe they should dig out their own recipe, check out exactly on off target their promises are and find out just what the facts are.


D Thomson said...

Quite right Stephen. The SNP will twist the figure and wording in whatever way it suits them.

The Scottish Police Federation have it slightly differently also. Not in terms of wording - they have it down as the Budget providing for the recruitment of an extra 1000 police officers - but in terms of the yearly increase in recruitment. Not a huge deal, but it does point to a lack of conviction when any of these figures are announced.

When the SNP announced 1000 more officers, Scotland expected an extra, on top of what we already have, 1000 officers. If the SNP intend on recruiting 1000 officers and having 900 retire, it's absolutely not what Scotland asked for.

Calum Cashley said...

The 2005 election was a Westminster election - police and justice are Holyrood matters.

Never mind that, however, the Lib Dems were in government in Scotland in 2005 - in a position to deliver 1,000 more police officers. Total failure.

The SNP will deliver 1,000 additional officers.

One slice or two sir?

Stephen Glenn said...

Calum of course you are quire right it was reserved. Many of what we were offereing in 2005 was related to UK wide streamlining (both of some of our rediculous laws and red tape in policing) and provisioning to enable more police time on the beats, this would have had an effect in Scotland as we would have been allocated the same resources to Scotland not wanting one part of the UK to lag behind.

Calum as I stated above 1000 additional recruits does not equate to 1000 additional officers as first promised, unless the SNP are about to knock the compulsory retirement age of officers back a few years and aren't letting on that is.

I think your just confirming D Thompson's point above with your response.

Stephen Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calum Cashley said...

The point was that the policy area was not reserved but that Lib Dems were already in government in Scotland and in a position to deliver on additional police but failed completely.

The red tape surrounding police officers in Scotland is entirely devolved with the exception of BTP officers so the Lib Dems were in a position to act.

The truth about the Lib Dem 2005 election was that the UK manifesto ran in Scotland as well and Nicol Stephen wasn't big enough to get it changed. Whether Tavish will be remains to be seen.

The SNP will deliver 1,000 additional police officers over the lifetime of this Parliament.

I take it you'll be wanting sour grapes as a side dish?

Stephen Glenn said...

Actually Calum we had to amend the UK manifesto for Scotland in 2005 as 8 of the 10 pledges we were making to the people elsewhere in the UK had already been enacted or when in the Programme of Government to be so in Scotland. So error one is that the Scottish manifesto was significantly different than the UK one.

Error two as you know Nicol wasn't leader at the time of the 2005 General Election Jim Wallace was, plus he was big enough along with the party to make such amendments and present to the people of Scotland.

Error three Calum is that the press release from the SNP at the weekend worded it 1000 additional recruits no longer 1000 additional officers.

Just checking are you in the loop up there in N&L? ;)


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